NEW DELHI: It is said time flies when you are having fun and that is what happened when South Korean music sensation BTS on Sunday evening connected with their fan group, ARMY from around the globe through their 'Permission To Dance On Stage' concert.
The virtual show, which ran for about two-and-a-half hours, was live-streamed from Seoul's Olympic Stadium via VenewLive.
The septet -- RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook -- performed a setlist of 24 songs, ranging from their early hits "Save Me", "I Need You" to their latest "Butter" and "Permission to Dance".
Several large LED screens were put up at the stadium which allowed the audience to enjoy computer-generated visual effects and pictures on their electronic devices from the comfort of their homes.
A multi-view live streaming service was also available for the viewers to choose and watch the concert from six different angles in real-time.
"Tonight although we can't see you, I'm glad that you can see us," said Jungkook after they performed their first set comprising "On", "Burning Up (Fire)" and "Dope".
"It's been a long time, it's a bit exhausting," said group leader RM, to which Jungkook replied, "I'm just happy rather than feeling exhausted."
Jungkook, who has held two concerts -- once when he rang in his 24th birthday in September -- on V Live app for fans in the last few months, said being back on stage with fellow group members was "so much more fun than that".
Ahead of the show, BTS' label BigHit Music released a statement on global fan community platform Weverse that V will participate in the concert "while seated and without choreography" as the member was advised by doctors to refrain from vigorous movement following experiencing pain in his calf muscles during rehearsal on Saturday evening.
V assured the audience that he was feeling fine and urged them to enjoy the show.
"While preparing for the show, I made a mistake. ARMY, you don't have to worry about me," he said as he sat on a chair on the side of the stage. From all-white costumes BTS changed to coordinated attire for "Blue & Grey", filling the arena with beautiful harmonies.
Then the group, now in black, joined background dancers wearing outfits with feathered sleeves to create a majestic human swan for "Black Swan".
At one point during the show, V asked, "What's it like without me? Do you miss me?". Jin replied, "Of course, we do. One's missing out of seven."
They also recreated the "Life Goes On" video as they sat on a cozy bed before moving to a large comfy sofa.
The highlight of the concert was when BTS performed the jazz versions of English singles "Dynamite" transitioning into "Butter" accompanied by a live orchestra.
V, who seemed a bit down, was more pumped up while belting out these sunny, upbeat numbers.
When V started to do a step standing up from the chair, RM, in the middle of the song, exclaimed, "Be careful!" Towards the latter half of the concert, Jimin teased that the show was coming to an end.
"Time really flew by. But this doesn't mean goodbye for good," J-hope said.
But the band surprised ARMY when they returned to the stage after the footage of their address and performance of "Permission to Dance" at the UN General Assembly on September 20 was played.
While preparing for this show, Suga said they had a lot on their minds.
"I looked through the final concert, it seemed so dreamy. Things are getting better around the world, so next time around maybe we can meet you in person," he added.
J-hope reminisced about the last on-ground concert that took place at the same venue.
"The empty main stadium makes me lonely. We poured our soul into it and prepared Permission to Dance On Stage. The circumstances are getting better, like the lyrics of 'Spring Day' we will come to meet you in person."
Jimin asked them to stay healthy and happy.
"It's getting cold and so wear warm clothes," he added.
"I need the motivation to move forward, but it seems to fade away. But what I felt today to see you offline again would give me enough motivation to jump with you. Just ARMY watching and having fun with us is enough," RM said, adding the concert was not the same without V.
V said he was embarrassed to be sitting away from others.
"I was too sad. Without knowing, my knee started to hurt. I really wished it wasn't on the day of the concert. We wanted to showcase all seven of us without any solo acts. I was looking forward to it. In the tour, you won't be missing any of us."
Jungkook said he was "teary" while singing "Spring Day" as he looked at the empty seats.
"I really miss you. To not be able to see ARMY. The fire in me is fading, but I felt something today. After this concert, I really need to go to you."
Jin said he wanted to perform at as many offline concerts as possible before he grew older.
"Now that I'm 30, my legs hurt, and all my body parts hurt. Before I get even more sick, I want to tour more and give you guys the best shows possible. Starting from the US tour, we'll try our best to come to you and perform more."
The event follows after the music group cancelled their planned world tour, 'BTS Map of the Soul Tour', due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 'Permission To Dance on Stage' concert was their first since 'BTS Map of the Soul ON:E', which was also held online in October 2020.
The band is next gearing up for their on-ground concert 'BTS Permission To Dance On Stage' in Los Angeles in November and December.